In an important series between two teams battling for a wild card spot, the Baltimore Orioles were able two out of three games against the Detroit Tigers, winning the final game of the series on August 19 by the score of 7-5. Wei-Yin Chen picked up his 12th win of the year for the Orioles, while Doug Fister had his eighth loss.
Chen was far from spectacular in his start against the Tigers, going five innings while giving up five runs on seven hits to go along with four strikeouts as well. All of the runs scored by Detroit actually came in the first inning, where Chen simply could not get the ball down in the strike zone, which led to two home runs and a double. The offense for Baltimore was able to overcome the deficit, but that shouldn't gloss over the fact that Chen has now given up at least five runs in two out of his past three starts. It is hard to say whether or not it is a case of him starting to tire out or if it is just a bad stretch, but with Jason Hammel still out I think Chen is still the key pitcher in the rotation that the Orioles will need to rely upon if they want to have a chance of making it into the playoffs this year.
Nate came up big for the Orioles on August 19, going 2 for 4 with a clutch two-run triple in the fourth inning to give Baltimore a 6-5 lead in the game. I think the key to the Orioles success this year has really been players unexpectedly stepping it up in key situations. After McLouth was released from the Pittsburgh Pirates I don't think anyone could have predicted him batting third in the Orioles' lineup, let alone being productive. Combine this with Chris Davis having a breakout season, Manny Machado creating fireworks after being called up, along with many other instances and one can sort of see how the Orioles still have playoff aspirations.
The Baltimore Orioles will look to keep up their momentum heading into a three game series against the Texas Rangers on August 20, with Miguel Gonzalez taking the mound against Ryan Dempster. Similar to what I was saying about the offense, there have also been some pitchers that have really stepped it up of late, and Gonzalez is certainly one of them; he hasn't given up more than two runs over his past three starts and currently has an ERA of 3.38 on the year. Dempster has had a rocky start with the Rangers since being traded, giving up eight runs in two out of his past three starts, so I think the Orioles have a great chance to start off the series on a good note.
Ryan Kekoufski has been following the Baltimore Orioles since Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games streak, and still enjoys watching games at Camden Yards from time to time.